It's tough to review a game like BioShock simply because its been in production for so long (the game was first revealed way back in 2004) and heavily hyped as the greatest thing since sliced bread from the very beginning. There are always going to be some people who complain when they see a positive review of such a product. "Oh sure," they might exclaim, "they were so pumped to finally play the final game that any flaws are glossed over." However, in this case the hype is indeed justified. While it is not perfect, 2K Boston/Australia's (formerly Irrational Games) latest release is their best game they have developed and since this is the same team that created terrific Game of the Year titles like System Shock 2 and the Freedom Force titles, that's saying something.
The credit to how good BioShock is has to be put on Ken Levine, the creative director for the dev studio. Levine' main talent is knowing that gameplay design and graphics have to be great but that storyline, characters and originality also have to come into play. So many games are released that are well made but are basically just updates to previous games we have played before. BioShock is unlike any game ever released from a major publisher. It's a first person shooter, but it melds in elements of role playing and adventure games so well that people who don't care for those genres won't realize it. They will just know that BioShock is an entertaining game to play from start to finish.
The storyline for BioShock is full of twists so we won't go into many details here. Basically you start the game as an unknown male who is on a plane over the Atlantic Ocean in 1960. The game quickly gets you into the thick of things by crashing that plane. Your character finds himself in the middle of the ocean...except that he sees a massive tall structure nearby that shouldn't be there. The entrance of the structure is sculpted in an odd art-deco designed interior with a bathysphere waiting at the bottom. Entering the sphere, we get the intro to the underwater city of Rapture. Created by the game's central character Andrew Ryan, he tells you via a taped message that he has created this city as a place where scientists can create their greatest work unfettered by the pressures of the outside world.
However, once you enter into the city of Rapture it appears that Ryan didn't count on the pressures inside the city to be a problem. The levels are trashed, blood is everywhere and it's clear that something has gone horribly wrong. Of course your task is to get the heck out of there. But that's not easy as Ryan and two other Rapture citizens, Atlas and Tannenbaum, communicate to you via radio intercoms to ask you to join either of their opposing sides. BioShock is all about you dealing with these different choices as you fight your way to get out of this massive bottle city. As we said, there are lots of plot twists and red herrings in this story, so what you think you are involved in at first may not be the one you deal with at the end.